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THURSDAY, 17 APR 2014
06:59 AM Beirut time
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12 dead in suspected Boko Haram wedding attack
Agence France Presse
Kabiru Sokoto (R), who is charged with taking part in the 2011 Christmas Day bomb attack on St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla near Abuja, is guarded by a security official inside the state security service office in the capital Abuja, in this file picture taken February 10, 2012.  REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/Files
Kabiru Sokoto (R), who is charged with taking part in the 2011 Christmas Day bomb attack on St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla near Abuja, is guarded by a security official inside the state security service office in the capital Abuja, in this file picture taken February 10, 2012. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde/Files
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MAIDUGURI, Nigeria: Twelve people died in a suspected Boko Haram attack on a wedding party at the weekend, police and health officials in the northeast Nigerian state of Borno said on Monday.

Two gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire in the mainly Christian village of Tashan Alade, 230 kilometres (over 140 miles) from the Borno state capital Maiduguri, on Saturday, said police commissioner Lawan Tanko.

"The attackers, who were obviously Boko Haram insurgents, arrived at the open-air venue of the party around 2:00 pm (1300 GMT) and opened fire, killing seven people and injuring five others," he told AFP.

"The gunmen fled immediately and escaped before security personnel could be alerted due to the remoteness of the village."

Witnesses to the attack said the gunmen pretended to be guests and opened fire as cash was given to the newlyweds in a traditional Nigerian custom.

The wedding was attended by both Christians and Muslims, they added.

People injured in the raid were taken to hospital in Maiduguri, where a number died from gunshot wounds, said one hospital worker, who requested anonymity.

"Twelve people were brought here on Saturday with very serious gunshot wounds from Tashan Alade," the source added.

"Five of the injured died yesterday (Sunday)."

The seven others were said to be in a serious but stable condition.

Boko Haram has in recent months intensified attacks on civilians in northern Borno in response to their perceived collaboration with the military tasked with stemming the bloody insurgency.

Nigeria's government in May imposed a state of emergency in Borno and two other northeastern states, Yobe and Adamawa.

The operation -- assisted by civilian vigilante groups -- has seen Boko Haram fighters forced out of Maiduguri into more remote, rural areas on the border with neighbouring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The military has said that Boko Haram was now crossing the notoriously porous borders in the region to mount attacks before retreating.

Elsewhere, four people were reportedly killed in the village of Kwajaffa, also in Borno state, on Sunday, raising fears of fresh attacks in the majority Christian community and others nearby.

Kwajaffa is near the Sambisa Forest, where Boko Haram has been engaged in fierce fighting with the military.

There were also reports of further deaths in the village of Warabe, also near Sambisa Forest.

Nigeria's military meanwhile announced on Monday that security forces killed more than 56 militant fighters in a ground and air offensive east of Maiduguri, near Bama, close to the Cameroon border.

Two soldiers were wounded as part of the weekend operation to flush out the Islamists from their forest bases, said defence spokesman Chris Olukolade in an emailed statement.

Separately, Olukolade said soldiers had "foiled an attempt by terrorists who were massing up on an island on Lake Chad with a view to carrying out an attack on some Nigerian communities".

He added that seven militants were killed while those injured were headed towards Niger and Chad.

"Intelligence reports have confirmed that some of the wounded terrorists were seen in a canoe paddling towards... (the) Chad Republic." he said.

The weekend violence and response came as local government elections took place amid tight security in Yobe on Saturday, which saw tough restrictions on movement and armed guards at polling stations.

Turnout was nevertheless nearly 79 percent, according to the Yobe State Independent Electoral Commission.

The election was won by the country's main opposition All Progressives Congress party.

Boko Haram's four-year insurgency, which seeks to create an Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north, has killed thousands of people.

 
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